Objective: The scope of the diabetes epidemic stresses the critical need for primary prevention. The consumption of foods high in vitamin C has been associated with lower risk of diabetes. The aim of this study was to analyze the relation between vitamin C concentration and glycemic control index in a large sample of U.S. adults without a history of diabetes.
Methods: We analyzed data collected from 7697 adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 who did not report a history of diabetes. Multivariate linear regression analyzed the association of vitamin C and hemoglobin A1c (A1c) levels after accounting for potential confounders. We also conducted stratified analyses based on race/ethnicity, gender, age group, body mass index, and vitamin D status.
Results: Vitamin C concentrations were inversely associated with A1c (p = 0.0202). Stronger inverse associations were observed in subjects 18-44 years of age (p = 0.0017), as well as in female (p = 0.0035) and Mexican American (p = 0.0149) subgroups. Evidence of a significant interaction between vitamin C and vitamin D was noted in subjects aged 18-44 years and in females (p = 0.0073 and 0.0095 respectively), with the inverse association tending to be evident at lower levels of vitamin D.
Conclusions: Vitamin C status may influence glycemic control. Investigators should be cognizant of the interaction of vitamins C and D and should take this into consideration in planning future studies.